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Drone Footage Shows 1.5m Great White Shark Circling Pro Surfer

Drone Footage Shows 1.5m Great White Shark Circling Pro Surfer

Newly-released footage from a drone shows just how close Matt Wilkinson came to a massive great white shark.

The former pro surfer was out catching waves at Sharpes Beach in Ballina when the 1.5m shark looked as if it was making a bee line for him before it quickly turned away.

The far north New South Wales region has been a hot spot for shark attacks in recent months, but Wilkinson admits that he wasn't aware of the circling creature until the hovering UAV drone intervened.

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"I heard a splash and a noise and looked around and couldn't see anything," Wilkinson said.

"Then the drone came down and told me that there was a dangerous shark in the area, return to the beach.

"I got to the shore feeling a bit weird and the lifeguards showed me the footage and I realised how close it came without knowing it was there. It looks like it's going for my leg and it's changed its mind."

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In mid-June, a 15-year-old boy tragically passed away following a shark attack near Kingscliff - just a 55-minute drive from where Wilkinson was surfing.

"I feel grateful and pretty weird at the same time but happy it decided not to go me," Wilkinson said.

"I called my wife because I didn't want her to see the footage before I saw it. She doesn't want me surfing for a couple of days now."

Featured Image Credit: Surf Life Saving Australia

Topics: shark attack, Australia

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Max Sherry

Max Sherry is a journalist for SPORTbible Australia. After migrating Down Under from London as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with Aussie sport and its culture. From NRL to AFL, cricket to rugby — you name it, Max watches it (with a beer in hand, of course). During his time at Fox Sports, he worked in the football department covering the Premier League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas. Born a stone's throw away from West Ham's training ground, Max is obviously a die-hard Liverpool fan.